There are tens of teachable, experiential moments unfolding each day at Brookwood, and many are under the spotlight of the 30 minutes at School Meeting each week. Students of all ages, as well as Faculty, take to the stage to speak, sing, dance or perform in some other fashion. Do we, as audience members, know what is going on for each person that picks up the microphone and stands under the bright lights? They may appear so comfortable, or well-spoken, remembering their lines. We may have been in their shoes, so we can feel empathy for the person knowing what they may be feeling; but we don’t really know the emotions and/or body sensations they may be experiencing. This came to mind for me yesterday as I watched 8th graders perform a wonderful sneak-peak of Mary Poppins: A Step in Time. One student shared with me that they were doing breathing exercises before they went on stage to steady their racing heart. They aren’t alone in experiencing these feelings!
World-renowned performers such as Lady Gaga, Sting, Rihanna, Jerry Seinfeld, Paul McCartney and so many more share how various forms of meditation have helped and guided them through experiences of anxiety, “stage-fright”, self-doubt, and uncomfortable feelings in their bodies. Many claim that with meditation practices they feel more grounded, calm and steady before and during performances.
Our bodies are an intricate and complicated system. Feeling anxious before a performance is appropriate, and by noticing what we are feeling and leaning into it (consider befriending it with curiosity), our feelings can be a beautiful teacher – leaving us feeling empowered, satisfied, proud, and with a greater sense of confidence for the next performance!